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New evacuations, increased fire activity expected for Cameron Peak Fire

New mandatory evacuation orders were issued Friday related the fire that's been burning in Larimer County since mid-August.

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — Additional mandatory evacuation orders were issued Friday for businesses and residences near the Cameron Peak Fire as fire activity expected to increase later in the afternoon, according to an update from the incident command team.

Orders were issued around 6 a.m. Friday for the Pingree Park, Monument Gulch area and two hours later orders were also issued for the area from Buckhorn Road to Stove Prairie Road.

About noon Saturday, mandatory evacuations were downgraded to voluntary for Crystal Lakes, Red Feather Lakes, Lady Moon and Red Feather Highlands.

Go here for the latest evacuation orders

Fire behavior was very active early Friday after a fifth night with low humidity and little moisture recovery for vegetation, fire officials said.  Elevated fire weather conditions were anticipated through Saturday ahead of a strong cold front that was set to arrive Sunday.

The fire above Comanche Reservoir exhibited extreme behavior Thursday and was moving to the east, according to fire officials. When fire activity picked up in several areas along the Highway 14 corridor on Thursday afternoon, firefighters had to shift focus from containment to structure protection. 

RELATED: Wildfires have burned more than 500 square miles in Colorado so far this year

The fire has been burning since in mid-August in an area about two miles southwest of Red Feather Lakes. It had burned 133,884 acres and was 44% contained as of Saturday morning.

It's the third-largest fire in Colorado history behind this year's Pine Gulch Fire and the 2002 Hayman Fire.

RELATED: Mullen Fire now 170,996 acres in Wyoming and Colorado, blaze expected to keep growing

The fire was first reported on Aug. 13 and the cause remains under investigation.

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